First Name Cruz is a product of my personal development journey, life experiences, and the many struggles that I have been able to overcome because of personal development.
Yes, my first name is Cruz and yes, I am sure. Those are two questions I get more often than one would think.
A little about me
My name is Cruz R. Villanueva.
First and foremost, I am a family man, Husband and Father.
Most of my adult life has been dedicated to the military which has taken me many places to like beautiful Iraq. The military blessed me with much experience as well which includes a stint as a Military Training Instructor or more commonly known as a Drill Sergeant. It wasn’t exactly Full Metal Jacket, it definitely was one hell of a time.
I’m also a health & fitness aficionado, avid reader, blogger, up and coming writer, personal development madman, and a straight baller!
Ok, ok, so I’m not a baller, but that would be an awesome title wouldn’t it? However, there was once a time when I was a standout athlete in football and basketball.
My start came from humble beginnings. Born and raised in the border town of El Paso, Texas and Sun City holds a special place in my heart.
It too taught me many lessons.
Growing up we didn’t have a lot, but we had enough. My parents worked their asses off in order to provide for me, my brothers and my sisters.
Eventually I went off on my own after high school to the illustrious Sul Ross State University to play football. Believe it or not, I last three entire semesters before dropping out with a 1.8 GPA. Yep, It just wasn’t working. I wandered from shitty job to shitty job for the next year and a half taking a couple of community college classes, but that just wasn’t working either. So, I decided to join the military.
Much of who I am today I owe to the military. I’m not sure where I would be had I never stepped into my recruiter’s office. If I could guess, I would probably still be lost wandering from shitty job to shitty job.
Anyway, seven years into my career, I was given the opportunity to be Military Training Instructor and transform brand new civilian recruits into our military’s finest. To date, my time as a Military Training Instructor has been the toughest and most exhausting work I have ever done, but it has also been the most rewarding. It was there that I learned how to truly be a leader.
During those four years is when I have experienced the most professional and personal growth in my life.
Personal development beginnings
It was during my time as a Military Training Instructor that I embraced personal development.
It began in 2014 for two reasons. The first is a podcast I came across called Barbell Shrugged. I wanted to become better at CrossFit and they happened to pop up on YouTube when I was doing some research to become the next Rich Froning. Obviously I never came close but the training and information I got from them was awesome! It was that podcast that suggested the book How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. That book changed everything for me.
Unknowingly, in the past I had done many things for personal development, but it was only after reading Dale Carnegie’s book that it became my focus and I did so with intention.
Personal development opened my eyes to a world I thought was only reachable for a select few.
Now, the books I have read have piled up, uncomfortable situations that force me to grow have become intentional, and the quality of my personal life has drastically improved in ways I could I really wouldn’t believe a few years back.
My passion for personal development has only grown and I’ve been doing it like a boss ever since.
Fitness for personal development
Since I was young, fitness has been a major part of my life. My family can tell you that I just loved to be active.
It started early on in when I first started playing football. I was a bad ass running back, no big deal…meh, no big deal (sarcasm of course).
My love for football was crazy. It still is. Early on I recognized that if I wanted to be a competitive football player, weight training was required. So, I started hitting the gym at 14 years old.
The clanging of steel plates and fogged up mirrors had me instantly hooked.
I had found a new love. Getting stronger became addictive and an everlasting part of my life.
Eventually, all that weight training for football led me to CrossFit, functional fitness, and health & fitness overall. It also pushed me to pursue other fitness challenges like running a marathon and a half-triathlon.
My mission here at First Name Cruz is simple.
It is to ignite a fire within you for personal development.
It has done so much for me since I immersed myself in the world of personal development and it is my duty to share it with as many people as possible.
Everything written in my blog comes from my time of diving deep into personal development and the many lessons learned from my personal experience.
Within each post are lessons from my parents, coaches, mentors, and many of the military leaders I have had the privilege to learn from.
They all have something to offer that can potentially change your life as they did mine.
My goal is to do for you what has been done for me through personal development.
—Cruz R. Villanueva